Launched in 2015, John Deere said its model 944K hybrid wheel loader, one of the first production alternative power machines, has one reached one million operating hours in the field.
The 944K hybrid features a 536 hp, 13.5 L, six-cylinder model PSS6135 Deere Powertech Tier 4 final diesel engine, The engine drives twin generators. Motors on each wheel convert the electrical energy back to mechanical to drive the wheels.
In addition to its fuel-saving capabilities, the 944K hybrid also incorporates other features designed to deliver reliable, long-term performance, especially in quarry or large loadout applications. Most notable are the brushless AC generators and motors, water-cooled brake resistors and solid-state power electronics. The 944K’s electric drive system reduces operating costs for customers compared to conventional drivetrains by eliminating torque converter and transmission rebuilds at mid-life.
To wit, Deere cites At Cornejo & Sons (Summit Materials), where the 944K replaced a size-class larger competitive wheel loader. “The 944K meets our production requirements as well as our previous piece of equipment, and at a lower cost,” said Adam Ware, site manager for Cornejo & Sons, which owns a 944K hybrid wheel loader. “The other machine burned about 24 gallons of fuel an hour, where the 944K burns around 9 gallons per hour while doing the same work.”
Other key features listed by Deere include standard traction control, which automatically limits torque to any wheel when slippage occurs, increasing machine traction in poor underfoot conditions, and enhanced rimpull control to virtually eliminate tire spin and slicing. Coast control reduces service-brake wear and includes functions, like dynamic braking in a hydrostatic transmission, slowing the loader without touching a pedal and helping to reduce service-break component wear.